I think I was a Viking in a past life, who stayed behind in a hot place after I couldn’t face any more raping, pillaging, and bringing something exotic home for dinner. I utterly abhor winter. AB...HOR... IT.
Winter is for hibernation not for raping and pillaging. By raping and pillaging, I mean capitalist consumerism, which is pushing the earth and its inhabitants to a point of no return. Everything needs to take a rest man, everything. There was a physical rest during the first lockdown in 2020, even as we wrestled with hearts, minds, and fear; there was a little pocket of peace that made some of us feel guilty and, some of us feel relieved.
This winter I took to hibernation on the top of a hill in the Transkei. I needed to be high up to gain perspective as I sank deep down into the depths of myself. Into my root. I was incredibly blessed to have this dream come true: to be able to hibernate and rest in a hut on the top of a hill in Africa, so I could dance with my demons. I tried to Waltz my way through it, but my demons were more interested in the Rumba, which is incredibly complex and involves many different hip movements...
This hill hibernation was a Vision Quest that exposed a childhood wound. I see that now. We moved here from Johannesburg where, until C19 we had been running a successful small community-centered Yoga studio. For the first time in my life, I felt some measure of security, not just that I could pay all my bills, but that I could have nice things and live in a nice house. I had good friends, people knitted into the fabric of my heart because they had changed my very DNA with their love and kindness. I was a fucking veritable billionaire when you consider what luxury actually is these days (or always was really?).
I’ve been conscious long enough to know that the deeper I went into the wound, the more I needed medicine and I knew where to find it: Yoga.
Before getting onto the mat for Asana Yogic Philosophy tells me: this is a Root or Muladhara Chakra situation and one or more of my Klesha’s are presenting me with some choice lessons. In other words, what do I believe about myself, the world, and my place in it? Is it helping me (and my community) or hindering me (and my community)?
It shouldn’t have been a surprise that I was digging around in my roots. We all are. C19 has changed the landscape of living and invited us to ask questions like: What am I doing and why am I doing it? Who am I really? Is this how I want to feel about my life? If money wasn’t really an issue, what would I change? Where would I go? How do I want to make money? Do I need to change the way I make money? And better questions: How does the way I make money affect my community? How does where I spend my money affect my community? Who is my community?
Questions about safety. Personal safety and tribal safety. This is intrinsically connected to our sense of value for ourselves. History and nature teach us: if you are not valuable (woman), you will be rejected from the tribe which in some instances is even worse than death. Did I feel safe in my nice house with my nice things in Joburg? No. Have I ever truly felt safe in my whole life? I’m a woman. You do the math.
I went to meet myself on the mat. Did you know the yoga mat was pioneered by the yoga teacher Angela Farmer in 1982? She called it the sticky mat. That name stuck. Now for the truth: you don’t need a fucking yoga mat to do yoga. Before modern times yoga was practiced by men (exclusively) on bare ground, sometimes with a deer or tiger skin rug. Modern mats suitable for energetic forms of yoga are made of plastic, rubber, and sometimes other materials including hessian and cork. The yoga mat has been called "One of the most ubiquitous symbols of yoga's commercialization."
I’m not saying toss your Muki, I’m saying become aware of HOW MUCH YOU MATTER. YOUR CHOICES MATTER. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU CAN AFFECT CHANGE. SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES AND GROW SOME VEGETABLES MAN.
The question of ‘my safety and survival isn’t just about me. It's about all of us. We spin through space together on this precious rock, we call home and continue to abuse her, even though she has communicated her needs clearly. Like an abusive partner, we promise to change but ignore her needs and by default our own.
The Goddess, the Feminine in the Divine, Wisdom Herself is calling us deep into her folds of faith, healing, and restoration. She is calling us into communion with her, into communion with ourselves and each other. Communion means listening. Deep listening. She is calling us into the deep waters of TRUST. We have forgotten how to trust ourselves and each other. We would sooner put trust into institutions that fail us continuously rather than trust other people. WTF? She is calling us into our Hearts. She is calling us into yoga: union and wholeness.
This is not a battle to be fought with polarization and other-ing. For goodness’ sake, we all know that and have for a long time. War is only war because two (or more) parties CHOOSE to participate.
I’m tapping out. While I face skirmishes daily, because the frontline doesn’t know yet, at the heart of it, at the root of it, my war is over. I’m laying down my weapons. My weapons of self-destruction are the same weapons that empire uses against me and that we use against each other: I am not enough so I need to BUY MORE, HAVE MORE, DO MORE, BE MORE, WORK MORE. I’m preaching to the choir, I know, but dang, I needed another round in the ring with this heavyweight and will probably step in for a few more rounds before I move onto the next plane of existence.
Wisdom paradox: I can only be more when I know that I am enough exactly as I AM. Winning is having fewer years to look back on and wish I’d been kinder to myself and others.
Wisdom Paradox: I only learn to trust others when I can trust myself. Make a promise, a small promise, like taking a walk and eating something healthy. Not a grand sweeping gesture that is impossible to maintain or uphold. Make one small promise to yourself and then keep it. If you can keep promises to yourself, you can keep promises to other people. We can learn to trust ourselves and each other again.
Wisdom Paradox: When I can show up consistently for myself, only then can I show up for others. The world desperately needs us to show up. Start with not letting yourself down again. And if you do: forgive yourself. Forgive them. Forgive. Winning means coming into radical compassion for myself and for you.
We are all being called to dig deep down into the roots, the very foundations of who we are and why we live the way we do, and IT HAS GOT TO CHANGE one small, compassionate promise at a time.
The promise I have made as I come out of hibernation, off of my hill, and into the bustle of Coffee Bay, is, Stella, beautiful little (child) Stella, I will check in with you every day to see what you need. I will do what I can to make you feel safe, even when the world around you feels unsafe. I will do my best to protect the world within. You are safe. I love you. You are enough.